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updated 1:13 PM UTC, Sep 20, 2017
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How Pure is Your Environment?

I find living in China causes me to be acutely aware of so many things I never thought I had to worry about back home.

However, as I became more aware of the need for pure air, I began to discover data that reveals “normal” indoor air can be equally, or even more harmful to our bodies than that outside. Through the discharges of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), via our furniture, carpets, curtains, cupboards, etc., we daily breathe in harmful pollutants that over time may have devastating effects on our body’s systems. Yikes! What’s a person to do?

Air purifiers, of course! And we’ve got them, in every room. They indeed help, and hopefully will add, rather than subtract, years to our lives.

Moving from air quality, what about the other “pollutants” in our lives? Is there something to the thought that what we ingest into our minds and our hearts can be equally problematic to our overall health?

FILTERING OUT STRESS AND WORRY

Physicians will tell you that chronic worry and emotional stress can trigger a host of health problems for us. Dr. Joseph Goldberg of WebMD says, “The problem occurs when fight or flight is triggered daily by excessive worrying and anxiety. The fight or flight response causes the body’s sympathetic nervous system to release stress hormones such as cortisol. These hormones can boost blood sugar levels and triglycerides (blood fats) that can be used by the body for fuel”.

Dr. Goldberg goes on to say, “When the excessive fuel in the blood isn’t used for physical activities, the chronic anxiety and outpouring of stress hormones can have serious physical consequences, including:

  • Suppression of the immune system
  • Digestive disorders
  • Muscle tension
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Premature coronary artery disease
  • Heart attack

If excessive worrying and high anxiety go untreated, they can lead to depression and even suicidal thoughts”.

WHAT CAUSES YOU TO WORRY? HOW ARE YOUR ANXIETY LEVELS?

Not long ago, I was passing through security at Nanjing Railway Station. I could hear a woman screaming in English with an American accent. She was yelling at eight Chinese men, demanding they tell her how she was going to get her bag on the train. Their response was amazed bewilderment.

I approached the woman to see if I could help. It turned out to be a school teacher. She was having a significant melt down. For the next 5 minutes, she gushed out issue after issue; how students don’t listen to her, she can’t tolerate the traffic in China, the heat was unbearable… and on she went.

Not knowing what I should do to help, I simply prayed that the peace of God would be real to her. She seemed to immediately get calm. I helped with her bag and we both caught the train to Shanghai.

PURIFYING YOUR “AIR”

Filtering out “pollutants” that cause us stress and anxiety may not be as easy as turning on an air purifier, but there are a number of ways to eliminate or reduce the “bad air” from our lives;

  • Balance time and demands of work
  • Eat and rest well
  • Exercise often
  • Pray or meditate daily
  • Keep short accounts; forgive always
  • Give to others; generosity works miracles!
  • Assess what you watch, read and listen to

It starts with the minute in front of you. Do the next right thing.

Tim MacDonald is Managing Director of Chrysalis Consulting, a Nanjing based firm that assists MNCs with Operational Excellence, Supply Chain, plus Organisational and Talent Development challenges. Contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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